Trumbull – Mr. Cedric D. Guion, D. L. W., Anchorage, Alaska (1) – Dan’s Visit Home – April 13, 1942

Judy_0003

Cedric Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn.,   Apr. 13, 1942

Mr. Cedric D. Guion, D. L. W.,

Anchorage, Alaska.

Dear Sir:

If you are possessed of normal curiosity you will be wondering what unknown degree has been awarded you in your long absence from civilization (if you can term what we are now living in by the term of “civilization”). Is it some scholarly recognition of your penetration of the far north to repair planes atop of glaciers? No. Is it perchance for proficiency in snoring, which, according to the reports of one C. Huerlin, has reached a high degree of proficiency in your case? Again no. And it can have nothing to do with an Eastern Railroad which has not yet extended its rails to Alaska. Then, by heck, what is it? It is a long overdue and well merited degree in delayed correspondence signifying in all its pristine simplicity, “Delay, Linger and Wait”. That you have fairly won this award none will dispute, and if Chapters III and IV of the Saga of Plane Glacier, are as long arriving as Chapter II, it may be that by Christmas of 1943 we may be nearing the final chapter. All of which is by way of mention, as you may have suspected, that we have not heard from you of late.

Yesterday as I returned empty-handed from a trip to the P. O. Box 7 to see if there might possibly be an airmail letter from Alaska, I ran into Tiny Sperling who informed me that Nelly (Nelson Sperling) was married to a girl from Boston, having taken the step upon being made Sergeant, was at an army camp in Florida, in charge of mechanical work on automotive equipment and would shortly start for Australia.

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

During the week I received a letter from Dan asking for funds so that he might have available cash to purchase a railroad ticket home, and instructing that it be sent to his new camp in North Carolina where he expected to be before the end of the week. Of course I complied with his request. Last night a little after 10:30 the phone rang and a voice informed me that “Your son Daniel is at the Bridgeport R.R. station”. Hastily donning a few clothes and gently leading the Buick out of its stall, I vaulted lightly into the saddle and Paul Revered it up to Plumbs, placed Barbara (Barbara Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend)  on the handlebars and raced for Bridgeport. From Dan I learned he had not yet left for North Carolina, had of course not received my check, but through a combination of borrowing from one of his buddies, talking the ticket agent into advancing him cash out of his own pocket, and selling some postage stamps back to the U. S. Government, he finally reached Bridgeport with enough left over to make two telephone calls. He is leaving in about an hour to go back to Fort Belvoir (Virginia) and expects that surely this week he will make tracks for North Carolina where the rumor is he will be on a surveying crew. His application for officers training is still pending, but as this is said to involve mostly combat training, he may, after finding what the life in the map making branch is like, prefer the latter. It all depends on what develops. He looks fine, is apparently enjoying himself and doesn’t appear to be suffering from ill health.

Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter with updates on various family members. The rest of the week will I post another letter from Grandpa to Dan and Ced, the two sons away from home.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Sons – Dan Home for a Visit and Other Local News – March 15, 1942

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel Beck Guion

 Trumbull, Conn.,  March 15th, 1942

Sons:

Referring to the date above, if I had a red ribbon on this here machine the date line above would have been typed in red, signifying a “red letter day”, not because it is the income tax deadline, but because it marks the first visit home of Acting Corp. Daniel B. Guion, U.S. Engineers of Ft. Belvoir, Va. Outside of a mere rumor, the first real news of the Daniel invasion reached me while I was engaged in the age-old Saturday night custom of a bath. Aunt Betty’s gentle knock on my bathroom door informed me that Dan was at the Bridgeport station, and would I go down for him. Would I? I mentally gave him at that instant my unadorned greeting and hastily removing a few drops of moisture, I donned my nearest apparel and all a-twitter headed the Buick south. There he was, neat and trim in his new uniform, fully as tanned as when he came back from Venezuela. We corralled Barbara (Plumb, his girlfriend) on the way home and set down for a quiz fest. As the evening wore on, one by one, Lad and Dick and Dave drifted in adding their own questions to the crossfire of inquiries as to details of Army life until somewhere around 1:30 or 2:00, most of us sought our couches and left Barbara to get in a few questions of her own. I invited Barbara to dinner (on Sunday), after which we talked for a while, then Dan changed into his uniform and started back to see Biss (his sister, Elizabeth, who is married to “Zeke” Zabel and her two boys, Butch (Ray Zabel, Jr.) and Marty) on his way to the train en route back to Camp.

I hope I can check up another red letter day next week in celebration of a letter from snow-bound Ced who has been giving his index finger a three months rest. No news is good news they say but I would rather have something more positive on this score.

Enclosed for each of you is a newspaper clipping giving a list of the Trumbull folks who now have a place on Uncle Sam’s payroll, in which I thought you might be interested. I do not have these clippings) There is a rumor that Irwin Laufer (a neighbor who lived across the street and was a motorcycle buddy of Lad’s) is now en route to Australia. I am also enclosing a clipping regarding the job the Army engineers are tackling in building a road to Alaska.

There is not much to report locally. The Tire Rationing Board turned down my request for new tires. Dave was in another radio broadcast over W.I.C.C. Friday and Saturday, (I) showed films of Alaska and Venezuela at the North End branch of the Bridgeport Public Library — about a 45 minute showing. The weather is showing signs of coming spring although we are aware that there have been years when blizzards have visited the locality even later in the month than this.

ADG - Dick atThe Chandler's - Group on steps (cropped) - 1939

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

Dick plans to take his new car down tomorrow to have it thoroughly gone over mechanically and put in first class running shape. Dan told Dick to sell his old car.

War talk- “Latrino-gram – a rumor. Mechanized dandruff – cooties.

DAD

Tomorrow and Friday, two more letters from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Chillun (3) – Grandpa’s Message to Dan and Paulette – December 16, 1945

DBG - Dan and Paulette - Dan ( cropped) - 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

DBG - Dan andPaulette (Paulette - cropped) - 1945

Paulette (Van Laere) Guion

It is always so pleasant to hear from you, little daughter. Your reference to the “little king” reminds me that soon we celebrate all over the Christian world the birthday of another king with his message of “peace on earth and goodwill to men”. I wish that spirit could be more universal than it is now but you and Dan are setting the right example from an international standpoint and I hope that in your personal relations one to another you will always be patient with one another’s shortcomings and generous in spirit so that our new little king will spend his happy childhood in a spirit of goodwill and peace. That is my Christmas wish to you for now and all the years to come. I hope you will feel like “chatting” again, and will always feel free to let me know what we can do for you over here to make you happy and compensate as far as we can from this distance for the lack of things you need and cannot obtain. The only trouble is that it takes so

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long for things to reach you. I suppose you think of us over here as being able to go in any store and choose what we want without trouble. While of course we are measurably better off over here than you are, we still are unable to obtain many of the things we want. This is due to several things. First, the switch of manufacturers from making war goods to civilian goods has been considerably slowed by strikes. Then, what goods are for sale are generally of poor quality and high priced. Added to this the fact that a lot of people have saved much money due to high wages paid for war work and are willing to pay fancy prices for comparatively (poor) quality, plus the fact that right at this season the stores can sell almost anything as Christmas gifts and you have a combination of circumstances that makes us who have even the rudiments of thriftiness disgusted and inclined to strike ourselves against buying anything until people get back their sense of proportion as to proper values. Take men’s shirts, as an example of one item Dan wants me to get. There is not a decent shirt for sale in any of the Bridgeport stores. The shirt counters are absolutely bare except for some gaudy, ridiculously expensive sport shirts, so hideous that even the anything-at-any-price customer hesitates. And when a few white shirts do happen to reach the merchant, a line of struggling females gathers about the counter and in a short time “the cupboard is bare” again. Perhaps in a month or two things will be nearer to normal but right now I certainly would not waste anyone’s money on shirts. This also applies to many other items. Stocks scarce, quality poor and prices high is pretty generally true of the retail stores. Merchandise from Sears Roebuck, when you can get it, is a far better buy, in my opinion.

Oh, by the way, Dan, while I think of it, and in case you want to change the beneficiary on your policies from me to Paulette, I have in my safe deposit box Cert. #N 1 232 683 dated Feb. 1st, 1942, for $2000 and #N 3 680 055 dated Sept. 1st, 1942, for $8000, both payable at present to A.D.G. as beneficiary.

DPG - Dave in uniform

David Peabody Guion

And here’s a message from Manila dated Nov. 30. “Up to three days ago we were extremely busy. Then in the matter of 24 hours our radio circuit to Korea was taken off the air and our message center closed. It all happened so fast that we don’t quite believe it yet. The chances are we will either stay here and work downstairs in GHQ signal center instead of as a sub-division of it, or we will go to Korea. There is a more remote possibility that we will go to Japan. Your guess is as good as mine. Meanwhile we are awaiting answer to request for replacements for men going home for discharge (situation has now cleared considerably and as a result my morale has improved immensely). If granted, it will make our old team with one exception, the same as was in the advanced party at Okie. There is a possibility that four members of this detachment, including yours truly, may be recommended for boost in rank to T/4.”

Someone asked me the other day how many points you have Dave, and I couldn’t tell him. Will you kindly remove my embarrassment next time you write? Did you get a battle star for the Easter Sunday landing?

Of course others can do it but how nice it would be to have a Dan out getting Christmas greens to decorate the house, and a Dave to fix up the tree or to improvise appropriate Christmas table decorations, and a Ced to spread his kindly goodwill spirit generally, and in saying this I am not unmindful of the blessing of the A.P.’s (Alfred Peabody’s, Lad and Marian) and R.P.’s (Richard Peabody’s, Dick and Jean) that will be on hand.

DAD

Tomorrow, two Christmas cards to Ced.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Radios, Radios and more Radios – January 14, 1940

This is the second half of the letter from Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela that I started yesterday.

Ced - 1938

Cedric Duryee Guion

Ced, in the meantime got disgusted and learned through Carl that a friend in the radio business had a very good buy, in the shape of a radio that his company had acquired for nonpayment of a repair bill, and was ready to get rid of it for the cost of repairs, said to be $24. He went down with Dan one day recently to look at it but found it was not at all as good a bargain as purported. Having started on the quest, however, Ced thought of the fellow that had fixed up his other radio some time ago and went over to see this chap. Ced called me up and told me there was a very good G.E. radio that not only was a much more expensive model than our old one (it looked like at least a $200 model ) but it had short wave, radio and foreign reception band’s, had a much better looking cabinet and a very good tone — and eight tube superheterodyne model, whatever that means, but without a record playing device, but with an arrangement so that a record playing attachment could be plugged in without additional expense. Dan was also particularly interested, in that with it, he could get Spanish speaking broadcasts, and as it only cost $12, I told Ced to go ahead, which he did and it is now installed doing business. Your old radio is now installed in the kitchen and our old G.E. is up in my room. If we keep this up every room in the house eventually will be radio equipped, along with other first-class hotels. So now you understand why I am not bidding on your old model.

The weather has been very unpleasant this week, cold, wet, snowy, sun less. Today it is raining, has been all day, with a cold wind — a home and fireside day, if there ever was one.

SOL - (DAN) Family picture in 1938 (2)

           Daniel Beck Guion

Dan has probably written you that he is going to quit courses at Storrs. He is thinking of taking a course at Columbia. Incidentally, he received yesterday a form from the Engineering Society Employment Service which states that they have an opening which he is qualified to take and asks him to write a letter to be forwarded to the prospective employer. “Topographical draftsman, not over 35, single. Experience in topographical work essential. Salary $175 a month plus traveling and maintenance expenses. Two-year contract, location, Venezuela.” He has written to find out more about it and will then decide what he wants to do about it.

You haven’t yet told me what you have done about settling your back claim with Interamerica. (Interamerica, Inc., the company that hired Lad and Dan to work in Venezuela and then did not pay their workers. Dan came home after six-months but Lad was able to get a job with the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and likes the work.)

A move is underway in Trumbull to equip Center School and Edison School auditoriums into basketball courts for the young folks. Dick is quite interested in basketball and has bought a pair of light green shorts that would do justice to a jockey. They are also using the floors as roller skating rinks (see enclosed clipping). (I do not have that clipping)

Mack - Snow Dog - March, 1940

Mack

One of Ives’s (the neighbor across the street) dogs was run over and killed by a hit-and-run driver the other day. Mack has escaped so far but I am afraid that as old age comes on he will not be as alert or quick and that someday we will find he has met the same fate rather than expire of natural causes. Do they have any dogs as pets in the camp?

I wrote Grandma (Grandma Peabody, the mother of Grandpa’s wife, Arla Mary (Peabody) who passed away in 1933.) a week or so ago telling her that if she would let me know what she wanted for Christmas, it was your wish that she be remembered. I am enclosing her reply. I shall take care of sending her a check for $5. so she can get what she wants with it. I am also enclosing a letter from Aunt Betty so you can keep up with the news from the relatives.

I guess that covers all the news this week, old Laddie boy. I’ll be interested in hearing more of the political situation when you feel like writing about it. There is usually someone in every outfit that makes one’s life miserable. Is there someone like that there? It was because I observed how politics made life miserable in a big corporation often times, that I decided to have a business of my own.

Love,

DAD

Tomorrow and Thursday, another letter from Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela. On Friday an interesting letter from the Caterpillar Company regarding pictures and a Meeker Harrow.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ced – (2) – I Go to Fill Out Some Scrawny African Buzzard – January 11, 1942

This is page 2 of a letter I first posted yesterday from Grandpa to Ced, the only son away from home now, but that is about to change.

Blog - 2015.05.13 - Trumbull (2) - Moom Pitchers and Exotic Orchids - Jan., 1942

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Time out for a message from Dan who has just come in and wants to say something to you about taking 1/2ictures. Here’s Dan.

Daniel Beck Guion

Cedirk, dear,

I don’t rightly know why fayther wrote 1/2ictures unless he feels that our results are only 1/2lf satisfactory, which is what I aim to tell you. The moom pitchers we took show an unfortunate tendency toward over-exposure on one edge and not on the other! Lad says changing over at twenty-five feet, taking out the film…… re-loading, changing over at 25 feet, taking out the film … says it probably becomes loose on the real, allowing the light to penetrate. Solution: change film only in very subdued light and do not allow the film to loosen on the real.

Uncle Sam feels that he needs me to save the world for Roosevelt, especially since the dirty stinking yellow bastards have the idiotic nerve to grab the U.S. property called the Philippines after we went to so much trouble to save them from the nasty old Spaniards a few decades ago. Imagine their wanting to get some islands that don’t even belong to them! And they even talk of invading the U.S., just because we refused to sell them a few little staples like iron and machinery and raw materials and because we stopped buying a little silk from them!

Of course we could easily win the war if we just sent 10 more bombers to the Dutch….You can’t expect little countries like U.S. and England to beat Japan without some help. That is why the Dutch have to sink two extra Jap ships for every one they sink for themselves….one for us, one for England. If things get worse, maybe Joe Stalin can withdraw his troops from Berlin long enough to help the Dutch win our war.

Gawd! When I think of those filthy Japs having the nerve to Bomb our Navy! They are nothing but savages. And they even sink our freighters. But we will get even. We are going to start building guns and things and in about 10 years we are going to say to the Dutch and Ciang Kai Shek, “O.K., boys, we’ll take a round out of those little yellow Aryans!” And then they’ll be sorry. Of course, there won’t be anything left in U. S. by that time except taxes, but we will get those cowardly Mongolians! We’ll just take their little trousers down and paddle their pink rising suns.

New topic: When I left Anchorage I made several promises to keep the boys posted about how I made out with the Army. I have failed to do so, but there is still time. Meanwhile, if you see Fred Crowl or Don Tyree, or Hal Reherd, or any of the Air Base boys, tell them I tried valiantly, but the Anchorage draft board tried harder, so into the Army I go, perhaps to fertilize some exotic orchid in the jungles of Sumatra, or fill out the lean feathers of some scrawny African buzzard….saving America, of course, from the Japs, the Huns, and the Wops, every one of whom have only one aim in life….to make every U.S. citizen into a slave.

Dan

Tomorrow, the final portion of this letter from Grandpa to Ced.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan and Dave (3) – Packages to France – November 11, 1945

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We are returning you know to the D A D broadcasting station.

It is now some minutes since Ced has written page 2 of my letter for me, the delay in resumption on my part being due to the fact that I heard them discussing the island cottage in the kitchen, where they had all gone to get something to eat, and I just couldn’t resist the temptation of being in on it. It seems that both Dick and Lad contingents are planning more of a permanent home while Ced’s idea is definitely for just a comfortable but “rough” summer camp idea. Perhaps it is too strong for me to say, what Shakespeare and Roosevelt would say, “a plague on both your houses”, but the camping out desire, at least as a starter, finds more favor in his eyes than a house with “all the comforts of home”. Understandably, he is not radical on the subject and is willing to go along with the rest, if that is what the majority wants, but to him the charm of the place would be it’s very differentness from the average civilized cottage. Personally I am glad to have this divergent opinion because it is only from considering all phases of the thing and getting every varying angle that is the surest way of arriving at the most satisfactory final result. I am looking forward with a great deal of interest to Dan and Paulette’s ideas and, when he gets time for it, further details from Dave.

Dear Dan:

Received this week a very nice letter from M. Rabet in answer to one I recently wrote to him. I have this week sent a box of only a portion, it is true, of the things you wrote you wanted us to get, the rest of the order being still on order from Sears, and up to now not reported on, in spite of the fact I have asked them to follow up the order to see what the present status is. I have also, as an experiment, sent to Mr. Rabet direct by parcels post two other items, but these entail so much red tape and form-filling and customs declarations, etc., that I doubt if it is worthwhile employing this direct method, especially if it entails payment of any sizable amount of customs duty on the part of the recipient. It may take a bit longer to reach them through the APO channels addressed to Dan but in the end it may be better. Please instruct me on this phase, Dan. They ask that in case it is not possible to deliver to the addressee, that some alternative address be given and I have therefore given the Senechal’s address in Calais as an alternative. As Thanksgiving draws nearer, my desire to have you and Paulette here grows correspondingly stronger, but I console myself with the thought that when that day rolls around again, all three of you will be here.

I don’t recall whether I mentioned it in one of my previous letters, but for Paulette I have sent to all the publishers in this country of baby magazines, asking for sample copies, and am sending them in the next box to you so she can look them over and see what USA has to offer along this line. As a Christmas gift I am also sending her a box of yarn for knitted baby clothes, enough for three sets of sweaters, mittens, booties, together with two packages of wool soap and two pairs of knitting needles. I will have these mailed to Dan’s APO address and hope they arrive without too much delay. I’m waiting to hear about Paulette’s visit to you and how she liked the things we sent. I suppose they were a bit wrinkled and mussed from traveling, but when ironed out, they ought to be fairly presentable. Hope that they fit and that down in her heart she will be really pleased with them. I know she would say she was pleased so as not to hurt our feelings but I naturally hope she will be really, truly, delighted, because nothing we can do for her here is too good for her, and we wish she were here to tell her so.

Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter and on Friday, Marian sends a newsy letter about their set-up in Aberdeen.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 358 – Daniel Beck Guion and a Buddy in Europe – circa 1945

Daniel Beck Guion with a buddy in Europe - circa 1945

Daniel Beck Guion and a Buddy

This picture was posted by Dan’s oldest daughter and I asked if I could post it here. It shows Dan, somewhere in Europe, possibly in 1945. I will re-post if we are able to find out when or where this was taken.

Tomorrow I will begin posting letters written in November of 1945 when Ced gives the family quite a surprise.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Remnants of a Widely Scattered Family (3) – News From Dave in the Philippines – November 4, 1945

Continuing this letter from Grandpa to his scattered family.

Last week I bought for you, Dan, a dozen t-sleeve undershirts and shall ship them to you during the week. They will, however, come to you in the regular way via APO 887, as I learn that unless I can continue to send you things at this address, I cannot send at all except at exorbitant rates (airmail is $.30 a half ounce). The Railway Express rumor was false as to shipments to France. They will send to England and Ireland (one dollar a pound, I believe is the rate) but not to the continent, so, unless being a civilian, I cannot send service men’s boxes to your army address, we will have to watch shipping expense, as the fund you have is being rapidly diminished. For instance, on the camera business, when they again become available, which apparently is not this year, the thing you should do is to write me specifically just what you want, let me order it, sell your old camera and forward me the money, as I don’t think you want your war bonds cashed, or do you? I also can’t quite get through my head what your status is now. You say you are a civilian and are addressed as Mr., yet you still have an APO army address. You are employed by the civil service and yet you say you are a war dept. employee; that you have to wear an army uniform while you are on the job. If you are a civilian, why the Army uniform? If in the Army, what office do you hold — private, your former rank or are you an officer? In any event, why the Mr.? And how can you be working for the war dept. and still get paid by the civil service? It is all rather confusing to a layman!

I showed Elizabeth Paulette’s circular about baby bottles and she said, based on the experience of those she has talked to who have used this type, Paulette is likely to be disappointed in that the bottles seem to leak out the wrong hole and get things wet and stained. And by the way, tell Chiche I have sent to all the publishers I can find listed of baby magazines and have asked for sample copies, which I will send her to look over and if there is one or two she particularly likes, I can subscribe to them for her. No, I have not sent any additional knitting wool, but shall do so. And by the way, Marian and I are not alone responsible for the purchase of the things you have received for Paulette. Jean also spent time and effort, and I was just a wee bit concerned that I had not made this clear to you and Paulette. Both girls have given willingly and enthusiastically of their time and interest and deserve far more credit than I. Maybe it’s a good thing you didn’t need your suits because I don’t know just what the moths have left. In spite of the good care Jean has given to Dick’s things, the moths have been busy and Dick, since this experience,

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has been moved to construct a moth-proof closet in the corner of Lad’s old attic room (of fire days memory), which he has been working rather steadily on since he has been home. Just had a letter from the Burnett’s, Dan, in answer to my announcement, which I will enclose.

David Peabody Guion

Now let’s turn to Dave, who has been waiting patiently on the sidelines here for a chance to be heard. Most of his letter concerns some interesting, and to my mind intelligent, comments on the island proposition which I will not quote here but will take up at a later time when all of you have had an opportunity to comment. He says: “Apologies are in order. We both apologize — MacArthur and myself. I apologize because I haven’t been able to write regularly and MacArthur apologizes because he and others under his command have kept me so busy that I have not been able to write. No kiddin’, I’ve been busier since the war ended than I ever was during the war. We are handling all sorts of traffic now — a good part of it is messages to and from the Red Cross in Korea concerning guys that are trying to pull deals to get out of the Army. Seeing those messages sure are tempting. I keep thinking I ought to try to get out by claiming that I was needed to help you run the business. It’s funny, it was easy to think of maybe two or three years over here while the war was on, but now it’s awfully hard “sweating it out”. As to Dick and Lad, it’s beginning to look as if everyone will be home and possibly gone again by the time I get home. In one of your letters you enclosed some articles about the men getting out. We get the same stuff in the papers here but the fact remains that there are scores of 90-pointers here in the repple depples. Joe Bohn in our outfit has 81 points and he hasn’t heard anything yet. The morale is getting worse and worse all the time. It’s beginning to bother me now, because the longer the high pointers stay here, the longer it will delay my getting home. I figured sometime in late spring or early summer, and I sure don’t want to spend any longer — that’s plenty long enough to wait for a boat. Well, so much for our woes. Oh, one more thing. The next time you see a union man, tell him that he better get labor back in line because the servicemen are apt to give them one hell of a time when they all get back. I’ve had several Filipinos asked me about the strikes in the states. It must look awfully bad to these other countries to see the U.S. so torn as soon as the war is over. We were talking the other day and have come to the conclusion that the people of the U.S. are the only ones who actually feel that the war is over. The people of Europe, Russia, China, England and Japan are all licking their wounds. Those of us who are still out here see very little difference now than when the war was going on — the fighting is over but we aren’t home. So it’s just about the same. But in the states it’s all over — now they can slide back to their petty problems and forget the war. In the eyes of the rest of the world, this, the strongest country of all, must look pretty weak under all this upheaval over wages. We can almost smell the stench of it all out here.”

Tomorrow, the final piece of this letter.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Remnants of a Widely Scattered Family (2) – News From Dan in France – November 4, 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

And this leads us quite naturally into quotations from Dan’s two letters received this week. To show the vagaries of the mail, the one which arrived here on Oct. 31st was written on October 31st and his Oct. 11th letter, reached here Nov.2nd, thus justifying the Scripture to the effect that “the last shall be first”, and in that order I shall set them down for your enjoyment: “My actual discharge is still somewhat nebulous, although I have completed most of the processing — which means that my physical examination has been made. The bottleneck is finance. The payroll is quite thoroughly “snafu-ed”. We came here under the impression that the process would make us civilians in 48 to 72 hours. Actually, they are geared to handle 10 men per day — while 30 to 50 men arrive per day. The “back-up” is considerable already and word of the situation has finally sifted up to higher HQ. I still have hopes of getting out in a couple of days, at which time I shall return to Paris to sign the contract with Graves Registration. I don’t remember how much I have told you about the job, but it will do no harm if I repeat that I shall be working as a surveyor “anywhere between Africa and Norway”, at a salary of between $2600 and $3400 per year depending on overtime. I shall be permitted to wear civilian clothes after working hours”.

The other: “I am a civilian (October 15, Etampes, France). I don’t know even yet what sort of work I shall be doing because I have spent all the week buying clothes (officer’s stores), getting photographed and fingerprinted for an identification card and passport and getting settled in my new quarters. The Grand Hotel de Passy is my temporary home. I have a room and bath with hot and cold faucets, which furnish each, an equal amount of cold water, a double bed with real sheets. I dine in the ritzy atmosphere of the Hotel Majestic, at two bits of throw. The tables are set with linen tablecloths, but luxury has compromised with realism in the rest of the table service. At any rate it is infinitely superior to eating chow from a mess kit.

DBG - Pauletter outside near tree - 1945

Paulette (Van Laere) and Daniel Beck Guion in France, expecting their first child

Paulette is going to visit me tomorrow and perhaps Tuesday and Wednesday, depending on circumstances. While she is here, she will be presented with the clothes you sent. She will be a very happy girl when she sees them. Thanks a million to you and Marian. If you have not already sent my brown suit, don’t bother. I have been able to get all the clothes I need from the QM stores, except for short-sleeved cotton underwear shirts. Please send me a dozen of these. My camera is still broken down. Please keep me in mind as soon as you can find a 35 mm camera. I am trying to have mine repaired but I am not too confident that it will be satisfactory. I spoiled two rolls of Kodachrome as a result of faulty

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repair work. Even if it doesn’t work, I can get a remarkably good price for it over here. Enclosed is a pamphlet of the type of baby’s bottle that Paulette wants. And of course she wants all the knitting wool she can get. One of the packages has two balls of blue and two of white. Perhaps you have sent more that has not yet arrived. Here is a list of clothes I have been able to buy over here: suit coat (army officers) neckties, bath robe, pajamas, underwear (no t-sleeves), overcoat, scarf, gloves, shirts, “overseas” hat, raincoat. So, you see, I am well outfitted. I have to wear the Army uniform on duty and I don’t think it wise to be burdened with too many civilian clothes in case I have to travel. Please check with Washington about facilities for wives of War Dept. employees. Promises have been made for room and board but no results have been evident. Thus, Paulette cannot be with me without tremendous expense. Love to all, Dan.”

Tomorrow and Friday, the rest of this long letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan – Yesterday Was Your Birthday – October 28, 1945

Daniel Beck Guion and Paulette (Van Laere) Guion on their wedding day in July, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., October 28, 1945

Dear Dan:

Yesterday was your birthday. I started out for the office with every intention of trying to find an interval in the days work long enough to permit my dashing off a V-mail letter to you, but alas from the time I arrived until quitting time one thing after another seemed to follow in endless demand, leaving but the alternative of incorporating a birthday greeting to you as part of my regular Sunday letter. So here I am, with a lot more desire than ability to state the obvious. Though I have said this to all you boys many times, it still loses none of its force, to me at least, in those quiet moments by oneself when we count over our blessings and mentally list the things we have to be thankful for, when I repeat how you boys have done so much to compensate for the loss of your mother in making life’s daily round so much more worthwhile than it otherwise would have been. While it applies to the other boys too, I am writing especially to you now, and I want to say to you what you must indeed fully realize, that from that moment when I anxiously paced back and forth anxiously waiting for the doctor to inform me that little Alfred  had a new brother or sister, through your mischievous childhood, your grammar school and Boy Scout days, high school, CCC Camp, and your various adult activities right up to the present moment, you have been the sort of son any father rejoices in having. It’s one of those things you really can’t appreciate until you have experienced it, so my main birthday wish to you at this time is that the little Valentine (Grandpa is referring to the fact that Paulette is expecting their first child, due in May, 1946) which is now on his way to you for arrival next May or thereabouts, may in turn bring to you and Paulette just as much joy and deep thankfulness as a parent, my boy, have brought to me – – and right now I can’t think of any bigger or better wish to send you.

Alfred Duryee Guion

This picture may not have been taken on the night that Grandpa was writing this letter, but this is what it might have looked like. Grandpa, Marian, Lad, Jean, Dick and Aunt Betty sitting around the kitchen table.

Not to rub it in at all, but we are all going to take time out right at this point to drink a toast to you with – – hold Your breath – – a glass of Burrough’s Cider. So here’s to you from Aunt Betty, Dick, Jean, Lad, Marian and myself, here seated in the old kitchen you know so well. So here’s to you. (Pause) Perhaps we might change this, if you think so, and say, a “moment for silent prayer.” – – You old reprobate.

Thanks for your letter of Oct. 22nd by airmail which arrived yesterday (five days in transit is pretty good), stating you were shortly leaving for Liege, that the things for the Rabets (the famil that invited Dan and Paulette into their home shortly after they were married and Dan was working a distance from Paulette’s parent’s home) might be sent by express (they are awfully slow coming from Sears), your receipt of Aunt Betty’s letter and some of the boxes with Paulette’s things in them. Do get her to write us how she likes the various things so we can be guided next time if they are not just what she wants.

In contrast to this speedy letter, I also received earlier in the week a letter you wrote and sent by regular mail on Sept. 18th.  In this you ask that a complete layette be sent to Paulette. It is true that packages can now be sent either by mail or express to France but the thing that I am wondering about, if they are sent to a civilian address rather than to an APO  number, is whether duty will not have to be paid, and if so, whether it would not be much cheaper even if a little longer in transit, to continue to send packages addressed to you through regular Army channels. Perhaps France does not impose duties. Will you inquire on this point and let me know promptly if you still want things sent direct to civilian addresses?

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Lad, Dick, Ced and Grandpa on the small island Grandpa bought for his children’s summer retreat.

The Lad and Richard Guion’s are entering fully into the spirit of the lake summer place idea and both of them, with the aid of their spouses, have or are in the process of making out floor plans showing their ideas for a summer cottage and I am eagerly waiting your’s and Paulette’s ideas. Ced I know is going to have some very interesting angles. I am also wondering if Dave will surprise us, even though I do not expect he has given much thought to matters of this sort.

Lad came home on another pass yesterday and he and Dick and dad had a sort of a field day this morning that you would have enjoyed. With the aid of your old Chevy, Lad’s Buick, some borrowed rope and just plain manpower, we pulled down an old apple tree, hauled sundry fallen logs too heavy to manhandle and in general had such a good time in the pleasant October weather that we long overstayed our dinner hour, in spite of which fact the girls were very patient and forbearing and didn’t act all upset. So perhaps we felt all the guiltier.

David Peabody Guion

Dear Dave:

Received your letter of Oct. 12th on the 22nd — not bad for so great a distance. This is the one where you say I am making you homesick by all the references to rides and trips; also that it has become an effort for you to write letters. That is quite understandable. I occasionally feel that way myself and find it an effort to try to sound interesting, knowing you boys will be disappointed if I don’t write and yet feeling that what I write is a lot of trash. And yet I imagine the effort is worthwhile. I know yours is to me. And you have a lot more to gripe about than I have. I keep busy all the time and feel I am doing something useful for your benefit when you come home, but you must feel sort of a let-down with the war over and nothing very important or dramatic to accomplish. I see, like the Guion tribe in general, you still keep your sense of humor, and for the benefit of the others I will quote your last paragraph. “Things go on the same here – we’re still sweating it out and feeling sorry for ourselves. The only change I can think of right now is the addition of a new sign out in the hall up here on the third floor of the Waterworks Building (The Water Works Building is in the downtown area of Manila, Philippines, where Dave’s unit, the communication center is located). The stairs going from the ground floor to the top (4th floor) are set in a sort of squared circle with a well going all the way down to the bottom. The sign here on the third floor says: “Don’t jump — we’ll all be home in six months”. I hope the sign is right.

Dear Ced:

I’ll paraphrase what I said to Dan. Just wait to you have a boy of your own that you have a particular fondness for, who made a resolve to write to you at the very least once a month, and then you wait and wait and week after week goes by after the month is up and still you don’t know whether the plane he went up in ran out of gas and could not come down, and then you can appreciate how the poor old father feels, gnashing his fingernails, glancing anxiously up as each plane streaks across the sky, wondering if that is the silent son at last coming home. And so on that sad and doleful note I shall come to the signing off space, but still hopeful, shall continue to remain,

Yours                               DAD

Tomorrow I will begin posting the very long second letter, filled with all kinds of news from his sons who are still away from home.

Judy Guion